I’m having a rough day. I just can’t seem to burn off the fog of sadness I’m feeling. It settled on me early in the morning, waiting for me as I opened my eyes in the grayness of the dawn hours. I went outside and watched the sun come up. I sat and looked over the lawn to the east, and saw the hint of gray invading the blackness of night on the horizon. I watched it until the tip of the sun peered over the horizon, dulled silver by an overcast. The day would be one of muted tones to match the funk that draped over me like an unwanted shawl, pulling my shoulders down in slumped resignation. I just feel old and useless.
Back inside, I took my usual desk chair and tried to snuggle into it with my Kindle. But I couldn’t get comfortable. Every position I tried just amplified the wretched deterioration of my body, this rusted machinery that once shone so brightly powerful and resilient. I finally gave up and lay back down, setting aside my book and just staring at the ceiling. I tried to think about my children, looking to see them in the bright daylight of sunny times. But for some reasons, I just couldn’t snap into the recollections that have so often made me smile, lifting my spirits as I pictured them laughing and animating my life.
After a while I gave that up and relegated myself to the television. Rain had begun to fall. Not a downpour, but a chilling mist that seemed to take forever to settle and wet the yard. The sky seems to feel the same as I do, its clouds more a lament than a function of weather. They seem to droop in the sky in a grumbling force march, as if going to meet an unseen doom. Blah and double blah. How come my eyes are stinging and blurring at their periphery? I’m not going to cry, am I? What for? It’s not like there’s something wrong. I just feel down. It’ll fade and I will return to my senseless routine of watching the minutes pass, right? Soon a joke will come to mind and I will laugh out loud, startling my wife because it comes from nowhere. “What?” she’ll say. I’ll tell her and we’ll both giggle and think of other things that make us smile. But I can’t think of anything funny. I can’t even think. There’s just this heavy canvass wrapping me up like some kind of depressing cocoon.
I turn on the television. The TV guide list seems to only contain entries of heartrending stories of this or that depressing thing, stories of love lost or gone so wrong. I want them all to just shut up and quit whining, they’re only making it worse for me. I don’t want to hear about problems and suffering, for crying out loud, I’m trying to use the television to escape that crap. It occurs to me that television has nothing new to offer anyway. Most all of it is merely a rehashed story written ages ago and repeatedly plagiarized over and over to make the story all new and improved. Except it doesn’t. And to think people actually get paid for producing that junk. I try to listen to music, perhaps it will soothe my savage breast, whatever the hell that is, but it just sounds too loud and moves too quickly. It’s an irritant not unlike that fifth cup of coffee in a row. My nerves are jangled and I want to snarl and snap at someone. Maybe I should go find a puppy and kick it. Then I’ll get angry with myself and feel at least something. But thinking of a dog makes me think about the one I had, and I grow lonely for him, missing him and feeling even more low than before. If he were here he would be sitting before me, looking at me with concerned eyes, resting his head on my knee. I would pull him up and hug him and feel better. It always worked before. But he’s gone, taking a long, long rest and won’t be coming back.
The sun is high overhead now. I’ve managed to pass half of the day. But still my breath comes in sighs, and I stare the long stare into infinity, focusing my deadpan face on nothing. In my power chair I roll from room to room, just occupying space. I’m alone. The house is silent but for the occasional bustle of the central air, and it too seems to sigh in recognition of what an empty day this is. My wife has gone to ride herd on her grandchildren. She adores them and loves the time she spends. But she will come home exhausted by their exuberant antics to fall over in bed and nap her way through the evening. It’s such a repetitious thing that even thinking about it just adds more weight to the sea of sameness whose waves make a tedious cadence. I wish the night would come. I wish it would rush past, dragging the veil of darkness that will obscure the grayness so pervasive that it starts at one horizon and flows through me to the other.
The telephone rang and I looked at the clock as I reached for it. It was five o’clock. It brightened me a bit to think the day was waning. “Hello?” I said into the phone. There was no one there. I waited after repeating my greeting and then clicked off. Perhaps it was just a kind of alarm. An indicator that the day was over. Perhaps it was permission to feel something, feel anything that might give the day some meaning. When I finally lay down and closed my eyes later though, I still felt that dragging funk. In my bed I thought again about my children and as I fell asleep I finally smiled.